A survey conducted by The University Observer on attitudes towards the general election has shown that 24 per cent of students would vote for Labour.
This makes the party the most popular among UCD students ahead of their nearest rivals Fine Gael and Independent/Other candidates who polled 20 per cent. Sinn Fein came third with 11 per cent while Fianna Fáil and the Green Party scored the lowest with 5 and 4 per cent respectively.
Regarding attitudes towards politicians, 88 per cent said that they both felt let down by politicians and didn’t trust their judgement. The survey also revealed that 11 per cent of students class themselves as not being engaged in politics at all while only 12 per cent of students regarded themselves as being heavily politically engaged.
The survey showed that 85 per cent those who responded would like to see the introduction of younger politicians to the Dáil. When asked of their opinion of the role of students in Irish politics, one student said: “Ideally they should play as much of a role as every other grouping in Irish society but unfortunately politicians tend to dismiss the opinions of students.” Another student said they regarded themselves as part of a lobby group, and said “No-one listens to students.”
Students were also asked to comment on their opinion of today’s political state in Ireland. One student responded: “Politics is failing us, but we deserve it considering how we voted.” Another said: “We have shown the world that after fighting for independence for hundreds of years, we cannot even hold onto it for one hundred years. We’re not capable.”
There was a diverse response to the question where asked to give their ideas on how to change the current economic situation in the country. One student said: “Hard work, investment in education, reducing Social Welfare” while another respondent said “End to party politics, idealism, vision, leadership (charisma), inspiration (media), closer ties with Europe and rest of world. End to short-term solutions and small minded thinking.” Ideas regarding taxation and compulsory Dáil attendance were also prevalent.
80 per cent of students said that they would be voting in the upcoming election while 72 per cent saying they feel that the election will have a positive effect on the future of the country. 81 per cent said that the state’s financial situation will make the more likely to vote, yet a number of respondents chose not to answer that question.
When asked what policies they would like to see introduced following the upcoming election, answers such as reduced student fees and electoral reform were common, in addition to a reduction in Social Welfare.
210 UCD students from across all subject areas took part in the survey between Tuesday and Friday of last week.